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Swapping Hard Drives Between Different Computers

I wanted to know if I can take the hard drive out of my asus laptop and put it in my lenovo laptop. The hard drive for the Lenovo laptop is ruined, so I would want it as the boot drive. I have a downloaded isofile for Windows 7 and I'm not looking to save any files on the hard drive.
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  1. Best answer
    It depends, some drives are encrypted with a chip that checks with the motherboard, if it detects a different motherboard series, it freaks out and locks out the drive. My wife had an older Acer like that. It wouldn't unlock when I tried to swap it to another computer.

    You need to know the model of the hard drive and see if it has hardware encryption AND if is enabled by default. I am nort positive, but I believe the same situation happens with windows bitlocker if you do not "unlock" it before the swap. I THINK you can just reformat the drive in that case however.
  2. You should format the hard Drive first and then switch it to freshly install windows on it in for the next computer by using a USB stick or the CD.
  3. royalcrown said:
    It depends, some drives are encrypted with a chip that checks with the motherboard, if it detects a different motherboard series, it freaks out and locks out the drive. My wife had an older Acer like that. It wouldn't unlock when I tried to swap it to another computer.

    You need to know the model of the hard drive and see if it has hardware encryption AND if is enabled by default. I am nort positive, but I believe the same situation happens with windows bitlocker if you do not "unlock" it before the swap. I THINK you can just reformat the drive in that case however.


    BitLocker is nowhere to be found on my computer, and I do believe it should be. I don't know what that means... but without it I have no idea how I would check to see if the hard drive is encrypted.
  4. Hey there, brittanyymccabe!

    @royalcrown is totally right! There are some HDDs that incorporate a hardware encryption and will need to be reformatted in order to be able to use them on another computer.
    Just make sure neither of the laptops is under warranty. If they do, you can simply contact the manufacturer and let them know about your issues and you might get a replacement. But swapping the drives will void the warranty.

    Good luck! :)
    SuperSoph_WD
  5. Bitlocker is only included in windows 7 PRO and up, not home, as to the second part, you can ask your laptop manufacturer for help or go to the manufacturer of the hard drive themselves. While almost no desktop drives have it, a lot of laptop drives have automatic hardware encryption. The reason being is that a laptop is swiped FAR more often than some mini fridge of a pc. Even if it does have hardware encryption, sometimes it is not turned on by default. Some drives are programmed with a software code and once the software (os) is installed it is tied to that hardware. The way around this is to send the drive back to your laptop maker to unlock it basically. They have the master keys.

    I can't say if it is the case in your particular setup as the encryption varies by drive, not by laptop. If all of a sudden Asus decided to use a drive with hardware encryption or stop using a drive with it, they can without a lot of trouble. I'd just get a hold of their tech support and ask them to find out. Since it is Asus (more of an enthusiast vs. business manufacturer) they probably don't have encryption or don't have it on by default.

    You could just try switching it and if it works..great...if it doesn't work (because of what i said about being tied to hardware) just put it back in the Asus and it'll unlock when it sees it's in the original laptop it came from. Good luck to you.


    brittanyymccabe said:
    royalcrown said:
    It depends, some drives are encrypted with a chip that checks with the motherboard, if it detects a different motherboard series, it freaks out and locks out the drive. My wife had an older Acer like that. It wouldn't unlock when I tried to swap it to another computer.

    You need to know the model of the hard drive and see if it has hardware encryption AND if is enabled by default. I am nort positive, but I believe the same situation happens with windows bitlocker if you do not "unlock" it before the swap. I THINK you can just reformat the drive in that case however.


    BitLocker is nowhere to be found on my computer, and I do believe it should be. I don't know what that means... but without it I have no idea how I would check to see if the hard drive is encrypted.
  6. chickenpizza said:
    You should format the hard Drive first and then switch it to freshly install windows on it in for the next computer by using a USB stick or the CD.


    SuperSoph_WD said:
    Hey there, brittanyymccabe!

    @royalcrown is totally right! There are some HDDs that incorporate a hardware encryption and will need to be reformatted in order to be able to use them on another computer.
    Just make sure neither of the laptops is under warranty. If they do, you can simply contact the manufacturer and let them know about your issues and you might get a replacement. But swapping the drives will void the warranty.

    Good luck! :)
    SuperSoph_WD


    Neither of them is under warranty. So if I were to reformat the hard drive, I would put it into the other computer before installing widows 7, correct? And if the swap doesn't work, could I easily return the hard drive to the previous computer and just start fresh by installing windows 7? I just want to make sure that I'm not going to ruin both laptops. I absolutely need a computer. However, the Asus I've been using has a broken screen and is hooked up to my TV and I think that motherboard is starting to go bad. If I could just replace the hard drive in my lenovo laptop, it would be less of a hassle and could probably last me longer.
  7. You know how I learned all this ? I tried my wifes old laptop HDD in my desktop; wanted to reuse it and maybe find some old pics I could tease her with (you know...boobs...or some other blackmail that she'd never live down..lol)

    SuperSoph_WD said:
    Hey there, brittanyymccabe!

    @royalcrown is totally right! There are some HDDs that incorporate a hardware encryption and will need to be reformatted in order to be able to use them on another computer.
    Just make sure neither of the laptops is under warranty. If they do, you can simply contact the manufacturer and let them know about your issues and you might get a replacement. But swapping the drives will void the warranty.

    Good luck! :)
    SuperSoph_WD
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